The red-billed starling

Writer: Isaac Cohen  |  Editor: Liu Minxia  |  From: Shenzhen Daily

A red-billed starling is seen in Honey Park in this May 27, 2022 photo. Photos by Isaac Cohen

The red-billed starling

Measuring around 23 centimeters in length, the red-billed starling (Spodiopsarsericeus) is an astonishing bird that over time gradually started inhabiting our beautiful city. It is nowconsidered a resident species in Shenzhen. 


Sexual dimorphism, which is common in birds, is also observed in this medium-sized starling. 


The males have a strikingly white head and a dark grey collar that diffuses into a lighter greycovering the rest of the body. Only the wings and the tailare of a fascinating bluish or purplish color that shines under the sunlight, a total delight to observe. The beak, as its name suggests, is red and in some instancesmay havea black tip; the legs are yellow or orange.


Two red-billed starlings are seen in Honey Park in this May 27, 2022 photo.  

Femalesare a bit brownish and the contrast between the head and the body is not as marked as it is in males.


This species is often seen moving in large flocks and likes foraging in fields of grass in search of insects and worms, but also feeds on fruits from some trees. 


Two red-billed starlings perch on a branch in Honey Park.

Despite their huge global population, its numbers in Shenzhen are pretty low. Their local population is in a process of initial growth, and the species calls for our protection of their habitats andfood sources. This is a great opportunity to show our love for nature and to help withbuilding a home for a new speciesin Shenzhen.